Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Lorelei dress: Gemma's first Easter dress

I know I'm getting a little off my usual topic by showing you some recent garment sewing, but I like to mix it up a little bit, and to be honest, a good variety of projects keeps me excited about what I'm doing every day.  This post is ALL about selfish sewing.  I took a little break from my other projects to make this and loved the result. 

I'm not a die hard mom that makes every little thing for the baby, but I did want to make one special occasion dress for Gemma as a baby--her first Easter dress.  I opted for the Lorelei Pattern from E-Beth Designs because I know Elizabeth and love, love, love the dress she made for her adorable little girl.  Plus, I purchased the mommy and me package to make matchy matchy dresses, but I was a little ambitious and didn't leave myself enough time before Easter got here.  One of these days I'll get to it, but I'll make it in a print I love instead of matching my baby girl!  Also, there is a fantastic petticoat under the dress, and the pattern is so well written that there really isn't any chance you can mess it up.  I was so happy with the results.  You can purchase the pattern on Elizabeth's website and sew it up for any special event that you have coming up.  The only suggestion I would make is to use a cotton lining fabric instead of polyester, especially if sewing for a young child.  Our church is kind of hot and Gemma was a sweaty little baby by the end of the service, so a more breathable weave might be a better option if you know you'll be in warmer temperatures.

Photo of the Mommy and Me bundle- from E-Beth Designs website
For the fabrics, I just went with some regular quilting cottons that I had on hand and had already prewashed for another project.  Sometimes I get too excited to sew a new garment pattern and don't want to wait or go through the hassle of making sure the fabrics are pre-shrunk, so I was happy to use something already prepped.  I used a purple gingham for the accent pieces and a very light purple and cream floral fabric that I thought was really sweet.  I usually am not such a reserved person when it comes to fabric selection, but I wanted baby girl to look sweet!

Front

Back
And here is the finished dress-I made the 6 month size, even though Gemma was only 4 months and it worked out well.  I wanted her to be able to wear it for a little bit before she outgrows it completely, and the sizing was pretty spot on.  She's a little over 6 months now and can still fit in it comfortably, which makes this momma extremely happy!  I was pleased at how professionally the dress finished--sometimes in children's clothing patterns, steps are skipped or the patterns aren't very well written, but this dress finishes with a petticoat and is fully lined.  I really enjoyed each step in the pattern and even learned some new things along the way.  Happy sewing until next time!  

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Penelope Dress with Double Dutch by Latifah Saafir

Hey Guys!  I hope your week is treating you well thus far!  Recently, I had the opportunity to sew up the adorable Penelope Dress (pattern by Violette Field Threads) in Latifah Saafir's latest fabric collection, Double Dutch.  The prints are absolutely awesome, and I can't wait to get my hands on the entire line once it's released!  

Latifah had sent me the raspberry waffle cone print and the white ice cream print with some matching tulle to use as the skirt.  The ice cream print is so adorable--and detailed!  I was blown away with the attention to detail of each different kind of ice cream treat.  It took me back to my childhood and thinking about ice cream trucks and summery treats.  This print was perfection in the Penelope dress, but I can't help but think of how amazing it would look after being fussy cut and put into a quilt project.  It's definitely on my to-do list!!

Ice cream print-photo from Hoffman Fabrics website
 Here's an in-progress picture of the skirt from sooooooo much tulle.  And there was a layer of glitter tulle as well.  I will have glitter on me permanently after sewing this, but it was so worth it!  


 And then a finished picture of the front and back of the dress:


The raspberry waffle cone print was used as an accent for the collar and sash, and the ice cream print was used for the bodice, sleeves, and ties.  Latifaah has a picture on her Instagram account of her gorgeous niece modelling the dress, and her adorable nephew modelling some garments embellished with the fabrics.  

The Penelope dress was a pretty straight forward pattern, and I love Violette Field Threads' patterns.  They are always a good choice for little girl outfits and are very well written-even for a beginner sewist.  You can make the dress with tulle, or you can opt for a standard garment fabric (or even quilting cotton).  It is a little bit time consuming, but totally worth it and a great dress for spinning in ;)

Be on the lookout for Latifah's line and make sure to snatch some up before it's gone!  Happy sewing :)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild Mini Quilt Show

The guild I belong to recently held a mini quilt show/silent auction, where the members were challenged to make modern mini quilts measuring 16" square to show and raise awareness for modern quilting and invite people to ask questions about what our guild does.  The event was graciously hosted by Sew Special Quilts in San Antonio, where they provided space for us to show the quilts and have our meeting after hours.  They were so awesome and have a great selection of quilting and sewing supplies, so if you're in need and in the area, please show them some love!  

I already posted about the mini quilt I made two weeks ago (the double wedding ring mini quilt), but I wanted to share the other two quilts I worked on, in collaboration with Debra--a fellow member of the guild.  

The first quilt I quilted was pieced by Debra from yet another guild member's inaugural fabric line (Leslie Tucker Jenison-Urban Artifacts by RJR Fabrics).  It's a great design and awesome way to showcase a variety of great fabrics.  For this quilt, I just quilted some simple contrasting straight lines.  I think the fabrics and design of the mini are more prone to show better when the quilting design is simple.
Pieced by Debra B, fabric-Urban Artifacts by Leslie Tucker Jenison
pardon the not-square appearing mini.  It really was square, but I forgot to smooth that wrinkle before I snapped this picture.  This was right after quilting and mini was not yet bound. 

The second quilt I quilted was also in collaboration with Debra.  Debra hand cut each charm square from a Grunge charm pack and fused the fabrics to the background.  I thought this was a super cool quilt pattern to use and has the illusion that all the circles are connected.  For this one I wanted to do something to make the circles stand out from the background, so I quilted a smaller grid on the fused circles and then did some straight line quilting on the background fabric.  

Mini Quilt "pieced" by Debra B. using Grunge fabrics
We had a really great night and the event was so much fun.  It isn't often that everyone in our guild participates in "Sew and Tell", and we had a lot of members participate in this.  Seeing the range of everyone's quilting interests and what their personal specialty is was a treat.  

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Love Patchwork and Quilting Issue 48!


photo provided by Love Patchwork and Quilting
fabric for quilt provided by Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Have any of you ever made a goal so outrageous that you don't ever really even consider it to be a possibility?  You might still work towards that goal, but the hopes that it will come to fruition aren't there.  That's exactly how I feel about this post. I always looked at the quilts and projects in this magazine and was blown away by the talent and variety.  I'm BEYOND excited (so excited I'm yelling in all caps!) to say that this quilt I submitted to Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine made the cover!  When I started sewing a few years ago, I joined the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild, and someone mentioned that LP& Q was the only magazine they bought.  So I jumped on that train.  I had never heard of it, because I was very new to quilting, let alone sewing.  I was tired of the traditional color palettes that are represented in other quilting magazines.  It was definitely love at first sight, and I subscribed to it immediately.  (And ask for it for Christmas every year!)

photo provided by Love Patchwork and Quilting
fabric for quilt provided by Robert Kaufman Fabrics

I'm super excited about the photography of this quilt!  I've never had a quilt professionally "shot" before, so it is thrilling to see the results (and know that I have a lot to learn when it comes to my own quilt photography ;)

This quilt is something I worked really hard on, and for a long time.  I am so thankful to the amazing people at Robert Kaufman Fabrics for providing the Kona Cotton Solids that were used to make the cover quilt, and for the opportunity from LP&Q to share my quilt!

I did some custom quilting and a little bit of ruler work on the longarm to finish off the quilt.  I hope you'll check out the quilt in issue 48 of Love Patchwork and Quilting!  Thanks for letting me share my happy news with you :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

English Paper Piecing - Double wedding ring style!

Good morning!  So many milestones going on in our household this week--our little girl turned 6 months last week (How has it already been half a year???) I celebrated my first mother's day, started the baby on her first solid foods, and it's my husband's birthday this week.  Needless to say, it's been super busy, and I feel like I've been to the grocery store almost every day this week.  Do they give frequent flier miles for multiple grocery store trips in one day?  I should also mention we live 12 miles from the nearest grocery store...  I'm sure you can relate to the feeling that you're flying by the seat of your pants on household chores and checklists.  Laundry, dishes, etc., etc., but I wouldn't trade it for the world!

One of the many reasons I love English Paper Piecing is the opportunity to slow down and enjoy the process of hand sewing.  I also love combining multiple parts of the sewing and design process and planning out a project from start to finish.  There is something so satisfying in making something completely from start to finish...even if it sometimes feels like you're recreating the wheel.  


I started by sitting down with my EQ7 software and designing a mini quilt for our local Modern Quilt Guild.  We recently had our first silent auction event and mini quilt show (SO FUN!).  Then I printed templates onto cardstock for the EPP pieces and started thinking about my fabrics.  I had a great charm pack of Kaufman Kona Cotton Solids that I had been holding onto for over a year, and thought this would be a great opportunity to use it.  I traced and cut out my fabrics, and then had to pause when I selected my background fabric. 

I knew I didn't want white, and I really like the effect black and white patterned fabrics have with solids.  So I auditioned a few different fabric choices--I really thought I wanted to go with a black and white stripe, but I opted for a more solid-reading print instead.  I pieced together a few of the DWR pieces and then placed them on top of my background fabric choices.  Pictured below is what I thought I was going to go with, but I instead selected a Tula Pink True Colors black and white print.  Because...Tula!!!


From the basic design in EQ7 (They already have the blocks drawn up...I just sized them to fit my needs), printing the cardstock, then cutting the fabrics, I got to take a breath and piece in my leisure time.  HA.  Leisure time...You know what I mean.  The semi-quiet moments in the house when my hair wasn't on fire ;)


Then I loaded the mini on my longarm and did some simple stitch in the ditch around the wedding rings and some loopy swirl combos on the black and white background that blend nicely.  It may seem kind of dumb to longarm a mini quilt, since you need a little bit more backing fabric than you would if you were to quilt it on a domestic, but I figured I paid for that huge machine and I'm going to get my money's worth!  Plus, I had just taken a fresh quilt off of the frame, and I had to take advantage of it before I loaded my next quilt.  It made for a slightly quicker finish than if I'd done it on the domestic sewing machine.

I was thrilled with the results, and playing with the color gradation and high-contrast background was really a lot of fun.  But mostly, I was able to really enjoy the process and each step along the way.  I don't know about you, but from the day I started sewing, I've always eyed the double wedding ring quilts.  I'm not sure I have the patience at this point in my life to see a full-sized quilt through, so this mini quilt was the perfect opportunity for me to cross a DWR quilt off my quilting bucket list.  I had also never taken the time to hand piece curves before, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.  Really, I had built it up to be this super scary moment, when all you really need to do is take a little extra time and carefully mark the centers of each EPP piece prior to piecing it, and make sure you line the centers up while adjusting the curves.  

I hope your sewing adventures take you somewhere awesome this week, and try to slow down and enjoy the process behind what you're doing.  I know I really enjoy the projects where I can slow down a bit and take a break from the hustle and bustle of life.  Happy sewing friends!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Select a size iPad Clutch free pattern


Good morning!  Things have been a whirlwind in the last month!  I have some really exciting things that I've been working on at Kustom Kwilts & Designs that I can't wait to share with you in the very near future, and I'm so excited that I can finally share this free tutorial with you that I teamed up with Janome to bring you.  Find the full tutorial HERE- at the AQS blog



There are some specific things I look for when creating a handmade gift for someone.  I like a quick project that looks like it took a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG time.  This is one of those!  The supply list is fairly short, so you can easily grab a few fat quarters from your stash and get this project going today, in time for Mother's Day next week, or whip up several for those really awesome teachers in your child's life.  The tutorial allows for you to select from several sizes of tablets, so you should be able to select the size your person uses and get going right away!  



I've been sewing on the newest Horizon Memory Craft 9400QCP, and this machine is a true workhorse.  I love everything about it, and quilting on this machine has been a lifesaver.  It creates absolutely beautiful stitches and really makes my projects look professional.  




I hope you'll take a minute to check out this free pattern--you'll love the simple style and elegant finish you can achieve with basic or complex quilting.  You can really make this your own and put your special touch on it to brighten someone's day.  I hope you enjoy your weekend!  

XO,
Joanna

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Variety is the spice of life!



Good morning!  Sometimes I think that when people look at my blog or my Etsy shop that they may not see a cohesive product…and I worry about that a little sometimes.  However, I just enjoy doing all the things that I do too much to get rid of any of them.  I know I could maximize my time and efforts if I chose one endeavor and focused only on that, like quilting or bag making or pattern writing.  But I love them all dearly.  And there’s something to that saying, “Variety is the spice of life”, am I right?  In my previous career, I was an agriculture science teacher.  Let me tell you…that is a job where you never have to worry about having the same day twice!  That’s what made it fun and exciting, and that’s why I love being able to create a multitude of things.  The teacher in my wants to share patterns and tutorials to give a love of sewing to others, and the bright color lover in me (I was obsessed with Lisa Frank, growing up in the 90s!!!) loves to translate that love into bags and quilts.  I know that my "creative process" (I really don't take myself too seriously, so don't roll your eyes at that) would suffer if I didn't have all of these things to throw myself into.   





I love making things that last.  I want the things I create to have some sort of impact.  I want to bring happy colors and joy to people, even if it is in some small way.  So today, I’m going to share one part of my creative business with you that I don’t focus on too much on the blog.  I started making my Mamacita Loca bags just a few years ago (I still have the very first one I made and don’t ever plan to get rid of it…kind of like when businesses frame their first dollar they make!).  I loved the idea of the embroidered handbags I was seeing at rodeos and stock shows at different vendor booths.  The aesthetic was loud (which I loved), but I wasn’t crazy about the selection of embroidery designs available on the bags.  I started thinking of how much I would LOVE to see some Calaveras embroidered on the bags and more Dia De Los Muertos themed items.  My love for Halloween runs deep, and I always was obsessed with Day of the Dead when I learned about it in high school.  So I started making some simple bags and adding embroidery to them.  I even offer custom embroidered monograms for the bags.  They look really great (and I feel like you don’t have to worry as much about your purse getting stolen!).

Like any endeavor that is started from the ground up, there were lots of things that needed to be improved on.  For one, I had zero background in bag making, aside from some free patterns I had gotten online for some VERY simple quilted bags.  I didn’t really know anything about stabilizers or interfacing.  Luckily, I knew I needed to refine all these things before I offered these bags to my customers.  I am pretty proud of how far they’ve come, and that I still make these bags 100% myself.  No one else touches them, start to finish.  I feel like I’m able to offer a really great, handmade product that can offer a sense of personalized style. 


One of my first Mamacita Loca handbags

This bag was one of my earliest bags (as you can tell from the lighting and poor photography!).  I get most of my skull embroidery designs from Urban Threads Embroidery, and I absolutely love their site.  I was a little disillusioned when I first started embroidering before I found them, and was disappointed in how “traditional” most of the embroidery websites were.  I wanted something that felt young and fresh, and they were the answer! 



I’ve moved away a little from the blatant DDLM themes and have started moving towards the boho scene with colorful arrows and a little southwestern influence.  I have always loved Mexican style saddle blankets and started using the serape-fabric with the faux leather for a really bold look. 


Anyway, I don’t plan on editing out bag making anytime soon, and I just wanted to share this part of my creative process with you.  I really love the entire process, from selecting the fabrics and then choosing an embroidery design, selecting threads to coordinate with the design and the fabrics, and then putting the whole bag together.  These are available in my Etsy shop under the Mamacita Loca listings, so go have a look HERE!